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Nigerian Footballer Dies Hours Before Embarking On European Career

By Esther Onyegbula



When 21-year old Nigerian footballer Okafor Kelechi was selected alongside two other team mates to travel to Azerbaijan, in  Eastern Europe where he was to be signed on to kick-start his European professional career, he felt fate had finally smiled on him.

 The Nigerian footballer from Anambra State started with Lion heart Football Club domiciled in Ayobo community apparently with a dream of turning his pursuit into a European career. He had abided with the team for three years, where he trained and honed his skills as a right full-back,  and sometimes played as a central midfielder.

 Elated at the news which he described as prayer answered,  Kelechi started shopping for personal effects and other valuables   he would travel with, while his club processed all necessary Nigerian travel documents in readiness to start a European career as a footballer.

 While these preparations were ongoing, never in his wildest imagination did he envisage that fate had another bargain for him. Unfortunately, his dream came crashing like a pack of cards on  August 10, 2021, while he  and his teammates were practicing on the training ground at Idowu Fadeyi, Ayobo, Ipaja. Ironically, it was the same day he was supposed to travel.

Sadly, the plane left the  tarmac of the Murtala Mohammed international Airport that night, without Kelechi, the hope of the Nigerian footballer for a European career cut short by death earlier in the day.

As you read this piece, his remains are in the morgue , waiting to be interred this evening.

How Dream Of Nigerian Footballer For A European Career Was Aborted

Explaining how the tragedy occurred,  one of his teammates,   said, “the incident happened on the very day Kelechi  and three others were  supposed to travel to Europe.

“ We had gone for training that day. He went for an aerial battle. On his way down, he lost balance and hit his head on the ground.

 “Immediately, the coaches administered first aid on him, trying to revive him. When it didn’t yield any result, they rushed him to the hospital.  But he died on the way.

When we got to the private hospital located in  Ayobo area, doctors declared him  Brought in Dead.

 “From there the coaches went to Ayobo Police Station to report the incident. The police came to the  training ground at Idowu Fadeyi, Ayobo, Ipaja where the incident happened. The policemen questioned some of the players, took photographs before going to the hospital”.

“I got so emotional, I couldn’t control myself as I began to cry when I saw the lifeless body of Kelechi being put inside a body bag.  His corpse was deposited at the Yaba morgue,“ he said in anguish as the dream of the Nigerian footballer for a European career died with him in the morgue.

 It was learned that, when Kelechi’s uncle, Chukwudi and his elder brother Uche came to pitch, everybody was in a sober mood.

The club Manager  was said to have explained  what happened, as well as  the efforts of teammates and coaches. Thereafter, the relatives  went back to the police station, to see the DPO and inform them that they wanted  the case closed since it wasn’t a murder case.

 Late  Kelechi’s elder brother, Uche lamented that “ It’s unfortunate that Kelechi died on the same day he was supposed to travel, his flight ticket had been purchased, the flight was scheduled for 8:45 pm and he died before noon. Kelechi is the last born in our family.  Our parents are alive and they are devastated by the news. Kelechi will be buried on Saturday, September 4,2021″. 

Source: Vanguard

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